Northrop Grumman tests electronic warfare defense system for F-16s

The 1970s aircraft now has the tools to fight the threats of the 2020s.
Ameya Paleja
F-16s in action
F-16s in action

Northrop Grumman 

Northrop Grumman has successfully completed the test of its AN/ALQ-257 Integrated Viper Electronic Warfare Suite (IVEWS) on the U.S. Air Force's Laboratory Intelligence Validated Emulator (LIVE) testing platform, a company press release said.

With advancements in electronics in military equipment, a new warfare class has now taken root. While previously, it was believed that this class of weapons was still under testing. The recent war between Russia and Ukraine has, however, shown that these devices are very much in use today and can be deployed to bring down adversaries in times of conflict.

How was IVEWS tested?

According to Northrop Grumman, the IVEWS is a fully digital system based on modular and open systems design principles. The receiver/ exciter architecture of the IVEWS has many improvements, providing significant advantages over heritage systems.

The recently tested system also provides extended frequency, full spatial coverage, and rapid responses. The company also added that the system features highly efficient broadband power amplifiers and adaptive modulations for countermeasure purposes designed to "detect, identify, locate, and defeat even the latest generation of sensors and weapons".

Northrop Grumman tests electronic warfare defense system for F-16s
Northop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye with electronic warfare countermeasures

To test the system's effectiveness, the IVEWS was linked to the U.S. Air Force's LIVE system—the LIVE system in a closed-loop radio-frequency direct injection threat radar emulator. Therefore, the press release added that it could send signals into the IVEWS in a way that simulates an electronic warfare attack in realistic environments.

Advanced fighters such as F-16 are equipped with radar antennas and sensors that can detect electronic warfare signals. However, for testing purposes, the signals from a direct feed are used to eliminate other variables that might interfere with the test. Post installation, the system would have to demonstrate its performance efficiency while working with sensors and radars before being deployed on the field.

As per the press release, the IVEWS system exceeded multiple benchmarks during the LIVE test and successfully demonstrated the ability to counter modern radio frequency threats.

At Northrop Grumman, James Conroy, Vice President of navigation, targeting, and survivability, said, “As advanced radio frequency threats continue to proliferate, the protection afforded by IVEWS is essential. This successful evaluation under very challenging conditions is an important step on the path to fielding the suite.”

The IVEWS is planned for installation for current and previous generations of F-16 fighters of the U.S. Air Force.

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board